• Thursday, Sep 29, 2022
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Highest efforts on to catch DU student’s rapist

  • Published at 06:09 pm January 7th, 2020
Du protest
File photo: Demanding justice for the raped Dhaka University student, protesters cover with black cloths the faces of students depicted in the Anti Terrorism Raju Memorial Sculpture during a demonstration at the TSC intersection on Tuesday, January 7, 2020 Mehedi Hasan/Dhaka Tribune

Survivor says she can identify the rapist; Survivor’s physical condition improving; Court wants probe report by January 28; Protests spread across the country

Police said on Tuesday that they were investigating the case filed over the rape of a second-year female student of Dhaka University (DU) with utmost priority, as protests spread in more districts around the country from the capital.

In their efforts, police on Tuesday said they collected some CCTV camera footages of the area near the site of incident, beside the Airport Road, in the city’s Kurmitola area in a bid to identify the rapist.

Dhaka Metropolitan Police’s Additional Deputy Commissioner (Crime) Krishna Pada Roy told Dhaka Tribune that there was no CCTV camera at or covering the crime scene.

“However, some footages captured on a nearby CCTV camera have been collected and are being analyzed,” he said.

Talking to reporters in Dhaka on Tuesday, Inspector General of Police (IGP) Md Javed Patwary, however, added that proper investigation into a case was not possible if it was put under a timeframe.

“Some cases take time to investigate, while some investigations can be completed in an hour. We have to make sure that we are working sincerely," he said, in response to protesters’ demand to find the rapist within 48 hours.

All police units were handling this case with utmost importance and working together to catch the perpetrator, he stressed.

On Sunday evening, the DU student was attacked and raped by an unidentified man on the side of the Airport Road. She is now undergoing treatment at the One-Stop Crisis Centre in Dhaka Medical College Hospital (DMCH).

Her father later filed the case at Cantonment police station over the incident. But it was transferred to the Detective Branch (DB) of police on Monday night, confirmed Cantonment police OC Kazi Shahan Haque, following orders from the top brass.

No suspect was held until 9:30pm on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, a Dhaka court, after accepting the first information report on Tuesday, also ordered police to submit the probe report in the rape case by January 28.

According to the case docket, the accused, whose complexion is moderately fair, is believed to be aged between 25 and 30 and had short hair. With a moderate body build, the man was wearing a pair of black jeans, a jacket and scandals when he attacked and raped the student.

‘She can identify the rapist’

After visiting and meeting the student at DMCH on Tuesday, National Human Rights Commission Chairman Nasima Begum told reporters: “This girl is brave… very brave.”

She said the student was still able to recall how her attacker looked like and will be able to identify him if she saw him again.

Nasima added that she urged the authorities concerned to hire an expert artist to create sketches of the rapist and help identify him.

Earlier in the day, DMCH Director Brig Gen Dr AKM Nasir Uddin said the girl’s general health condition was improving.

"As you [reporters] know, a seven-member medical board has been formed to treat her. They found that her physical conditions have shown much improvement," he said, hinting that she could be discharged in a day or two, based on doctor’s advice.

However, she is still deeply traumatized and the hospital appointed a psychiatric specialist to treat her, Nasir added.

According to Ain o Salish Kendra (ASK), incidents of rape and gang rape around the country had doubled in 2019, compared to the previous year.

In a recently released report, the human rights watchdog said a total of 1,413 woman were raped and gang-raped throughout 2019 across Bangladesh — compared to 732 in 2018 and 818 in 2017.

Talking to Dhaka Tribune on Tuesday, rights experts said that delay in trial and lesser implementation of punishment in rape cases were provoking people with a rapist’s mind, turning them into a perpetrator.

In August last year, a High Court bench had also said that incidents of rape were increasing due to the failure in handing out exemplary punishment to culprits at the quickest time.

ASK’s Executive Director Sheepa Hafiza said: “The reality around us has showed that even when a woman goes to the police station seeking justice, she continues to face harassment through different means in different stages of the justice system. Meanwhile, the accused manages to get released on bail.”

“Because of all of these, those who only have criminal intent gather the courage to carry out such heinous act [rape],” she added.

Supreme Court lawyer and rights activist Salma Ali also said that not all offenders get arrested in most rape cases while the implementation rate of punishment is much lower.

“If appropriate punishment is ensured in due time, it won’t bring much change to the society overnight, but it’ll definitely scare such offenders,” she added.

Protests rock DU, spread across the country

Like Monday, Dhaka University campus was rocked throughout on Tuesday too by demonstrations one after another, while condemnation poured in from various quarters and protests spread in many districts.

DU Central Students’ Union, Bangladesh Chhatra League, Jatiyatabadi Chhatra Dal, Santrash Birodhi Chhatra Oikya, Jatiya Chhatra Samaj, a Muktijuddho Mancha faction, Students’ Community against Rape and Sexual Violence, 12 TSC-based socio-cultural organizations, and DU students in general — all demonstrated in different areas both inside and outside the university campus.

All of them pushed for one demand: justice for the rape survivor student and immediate arrest and maximum punishment of the rapist.

The TSC-based organizations also asked the DU authorities to negotiate with the military to allow the university buses to go through Dhaka Cantonment.

Ducsu and Chhatra Dal submitted separate memorandums to the Home Ministry, pushing the administration to meet the demand.

Students also painted alpanas, or floor paintings, on a 200-yard-stretch on the road from Ruqayyah Hall gate to TSC intersection, as part of the protests.

Meanwhile, demanding justice for the rape survivor, demonstrations took place at Jahangirnagar University, Jagannath University, Chittagong University, Rajshahi University, Begum Rokeya University in Rangpur, Noakhali Science and Technology University, Hajee Danesh Science and Technology University in Dinajpur, Islamic University in Kushtia, and in a number of districts including Comilla, Tangail and Barguna.

In a press release issued on Tuesday, the Women and Children Affairs Ministry also strongly condemned the rape. “Persons involved with the crime must face the highest punishment through fair investigation,” it said.

Additional reporting by Md Sanaul Islam Tipu

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